"Call Microsoft Helpline" pop-up scam removal instructions
What is "Call Microsoft Helpline"?
"Call Microsoft Helpline" is a scam run by deceptive websites. It operates by tricking users into believing that their device is infected and that they need to contact the (fake) technical support provided to resolve the issues. Note that no website can detect threats present on users' systems and any claims to this effect cannot be trusted. This specific scam claims to originate from Microsoft, however, this is also false. Microsoft has no association with "Call Microsoft Helpline". Few people visit these deceptive, rogue sites intentionally - most are redirected by intrusive advertisements or Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) already present on the device.
Visitors first see a pop-up window with a message claiming that their connection to this web page is not secure and, therefore, they must sign-in. The background pop-up pertains to be a warning alert from Microsoft. This alarm states that "Malicious Pornography Spyware/Riskware" has been detected on the system. Users are urged not to ignore this message and to contact the (fake) helpline without delay. It is stated that closing this web page will disable users' access to the device in order to prevent further damage to the network. To further alarm users, the pop-up implies that some sort of unmentioned information is currently being stolen from them. The background states that the computer has been locked, due to it being infected with Trojan-type malware. This has allegedly happened due to the Windows activation key having expired. Supposedly, users' information (usernames and passwords, banking details, messaging history/contacts) has already been stolen. To prevent further damage to their data and identities, the scam instructs users to call the number listed. The sole purpose of these scams is to generate revenue for their designers. There are many ways in which calling the fake technical support numbers can harm users and their devices. These numbers can have high fees, even though it is often claimed that they are toll-free. It is also possible that users will be led through confusing instructions, which will require them to pay for bogus services. They might be instructed to purchase rogue, nonoperational software and/or tricked into downloading/installing malicious programs. In some cases, deceptive web pages cannot be closed by simply closing the browser tab/window. Therefore, Task Manager should be used to terminate the browser process. Prior to reopening the browser, however, do not restore the previous session, otherwise the rogue site will also be reopened (or the web page that originally redirected to the scam will redirect to it again).
As mentioned, deceptive/scam websites are typically opened by PUAs. These apps often seem legitimate and offer a wide variety of "useful" features. In fact, they are rarely operational. Rather than delivering any real value, unwanted applications employ stealth means to generate revenue for their developers. They can cause redirects to untrustworthy and malicious websites. Some can run intrusive ad campaigns. I.e., deliver unwanted and harmful ads. Others can hijack browsers and promote fake search engines. PUAs commonly have data tracking abilities. They monitor users' browsing activity (URLs visited, pages viewed, search queries typed, etc.) and collect personal information (IP addresses, geolocations and other details). This sensitive data is then shared with third parties who use it for criminals purposes. PUAs can not only cause browser and system infiltration and infections, but also lead to financial loss, severe privacy issues, and even identity theft. To protect device and user safety, remove all suspicious applications and browser extensions/plug-ins immediately upon detection.
|Name||possible malware infections|
|Threat Type||Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud.|
|Fake Claim||Scam claims that user's device is infected and they need to contact technical support to prevent further damage.|
|Tech Support Scammer Phone Number||+1-888-901-0041|
|Symptoms||Fake error messages, fake system warnings, pop-up errors, hoax computer scan.|
|Distribution methods||Compromised websites, rogue online pop-up ads, potentially unwanted applications.|
|Damage||Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft, possible malware infections.|
|Malware Removal (Windows)||
To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
The internet is full of scam/rogue sites. They tend to use social engineering and scare tactics to encourage visitors into performing certain actions. For example, calling fraudulent support numbers, and downloading, installing, or purchasing untrustworthy/malicious software, paying for fake services rendered, etc. "E.tre456_worm_Windows", "Norton Subscription Has Expired Today", and "What is Microsoft Alert Your Data Is At Risk" are some examples of other scams similar to "Call Microsoft Helpline".
How did potentially unwanted applications install on my computer?
PUAs often proliferate via the download/install set-ups of other programs. This deceptive marketing method of pre-packing regular software with unwanted or malicious content is called "bundling". Rushing download/installation processes (e.g. ignoring terms, skipping steps, etc.) increases the risk of unintentionally allowing bundled programs onto systems. Some of these apps also have "official" download web pages. Intrusive advertisements can also spread this content. When clicked, they can execute scripts designed to download/install PUAs without users' consent.
How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications
Content should be researched carefully, prior to download/installation. Use only official and verified download channels. P2P sharing networks (BitTorrent, eMule, Gnutella, etc.), free file-hosting websites, third party downloaders and similar sources are untrustworthy, and using them is not advised. When downloading/installing, read the terms, explore all available options, use the "Custom/Advanced" settings, and opt-out of additional apps, tools, features and so on. Intrusive ads usually seem legitimate and harmless, however, when clicked, they often redirect to dubious sites (e.g. pornography, adult-dating, gambling, etc.). If you encounter ads/redirects of this type, inspect the device and immediately remove all dubious applications and/or browser extensions/plug-ins. If your computer is already infected with PUAs, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate them.
Text presented in "Call Microsoft Helpline" initial pop-up window:
Your connection to this site is not private
The appearance of "Call Microsoft Helpline" pop-up (GIF):
Screenshot of the background pop-up:
Text presented in this pop-up window:
** Microsoft Warning Alert **
Malicious Pornography Spyware/Riskware Detected
Error # 0x80092ee9
Please call us immediately Call Microsoft Helpline
Do not ignore this critical alert.
If you close this page, your computer access will be disabled to prevent
further damage to our network.
Your computer has alerted us that it has been infected with a Pornographic
Spyware and riskware. The following information is being stolen...
Call Microsoft Helpline
Screenshot of the background page:
Text presented in this page:
Call Microsoft Helpline
Your computer has been Locked
Call Microsoft Helpline
Your computer with the IP address 188.8.131.52 has been infected by the Trojans -- Because System Activation KEY has expired & Your information (for example, passwords, messages, and credit cards) have been stolen. Call Microsoft +1-888-901-0041 to protect your files and identity from further damage.
Call Microsoft Helpline
Instant automatic malware removal:
Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
- What is "Call Microsoft Helpline"?
- STEP 1. Uninstall deceptive applications using Control Panel.
- STEP 2. Remove adware from Internet Explorer.
- STEP 3. Remove rogue extensions from Google Chrome.
- STEP 4. Remove potentially unwanted plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox.
- STEP 5. Remove rogue extensions from Safari.
- STEP 6. Remove rogue plug-ins from Microsoft Edge.
Removal of potentially unwanted applications:
Windows 7 users:
Click Start (Windows Logo at the bottom left corner of your desktop), choose Control Panel. Locate Programs and click Uninstall a program.
Windows XP users:
Click Start, choose Settings and click Control Panel. Locate and click Add or Remove Programs.
Windows 10 and Windows 8 users:
Right-click in the lower left corner of the screen, in the Quick Access Menu select Control Panel. In the opened window choose Programs and Features.
Mac OSX users:
Click Finder, in the opened screen select Applications. Drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located in your Dock), then right click the Trash icon and select Empty Trash.
In the uninstall programs window, look for any suspicious/recently-installed applications, select these entries and click "Uninstall" or "Remove".
After uninstalling the potentially unwanted application, scan your computer for any remaining unwanted components or possible malware infections. To scan your computer, use recommended malware removal software.
Remove rogue extensions from Internet browsers:
Video showing how to remove potentially unwanted browser add-ons:
Remove malicious add-ons from Internet Explorer:
Click the "gear" icon (at the top right corner of Internet Explorer), select "Manage Add-ons". Look for any recently-installed suspicious browser extensions, select these entries and click "Remove".
If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, reset your Internet Explorer settings to default.
Windows XP users: Click Start, click Run, in the opened window type inetcpl.cpl In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 users: Click the Windows logo, in the start search box type inetcpl.cpl and click enter. In the opened window click the Advanced tab, then click Reset.
Windows 8 users: Open Internet Explorer and click the gear icon. Select Internet Options.
In the opened window, select the Advanced tab.
Click the Reset button.
Confirm that you wish to reset Internet Explorer settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:
Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome), select "More tools" and click "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and remove them.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, reset your Google Chrome browser settings. Click the Chrome menu icon (at the top right corner of Google Chrome) and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen. Click the Advanced… link.
After scrolling to the bottom of the screen, click the Reset (Restore settings to their original defaults) button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Google Chrome settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
Remove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:
Click the Firefox menu (at the top right corner of the main window), select "Add-ons". Click on "Extensions", in the opened window remove all recently-installed suspicious browser plug-ins.
Computer users who have problems with possible malware infections removal can reset their Mozilla Firefox settings.
Open Mozilla Firefox, at the top right corner of the main window, click the Firefox menu, in the opened menu, click Help.
Select Troubleshooting Information.
In the opened window, click the Refresh Firefox button.
In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Mozilla Firefox settings to default by clicking the Refresh Firefox button.
Remove malicious extensions from Safari:
Make sure your Safari browser is active, click Safari menu, and select Preferences....
In the opened window click Extensions, locate any recently installed suspicious extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Make sure your Safari browser is active and click on Safari menu. From the drop down menu select Clear History and Website Data...
In the opened window select all history and click the Clear History button.
Remove malicious extensions from Microsoft Edge:
Click the Edge menu icon (at the upper-right corner of Microsoft Edge), select "Extensions". Locate all recently-installed suspicious browser add-ons and click "Remove" below their names.
If you continue to have problems with removal of the possible malware infections, reset your Microsoft Edge browser settings. Click the Edge menu icon (at the top right corner of Microsoft Edge) and select Settings.
In the opened settings menu select Reset settings.
Select Restore settings to their default values. In the opened window, confirm that you wish to reset Microsoft Edge settings to default by clicking the Reset button.
- If this did not help, follow these alternative instructions explaining how to reset the Microsoft Edge browser.
Commonly, adware or potentially unwanted applications infiltrate Internet browsers through free software downloads. Note that the safest source for downloading free software is via developers' websites only. To avoid installation of adware, be very attentive when downloading and installing free software. When installing previously-downloaded free programs, choose the custom or advanced installation options – this step will reveal any potentially unwanted applications listed for installation together with your chosen free program.
If you are experiencing problems while trying to remove possible malware infections from your computer, please ask for assistance in our malware support forum.
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